Position Papers

Responses by District Council Candidates to 8 questions asked by LIM

i Nov 18th No Comments by

Dear Members and Friends

With the District Council Election taking place on Sunday 22nd November between 7:30am till 10:30pm, the LIM Committee felt it would be useful to ask the candidates for their opinions and intentions regarding some of the key concerns of the residents of South Lantau.  

We sent a questionnaire to all candidates, focusing our questions on key near-term and long-term issues facing Lantau that have previously been expressed by many of you: car permits in South Lantau, protection of wetland, parking space in Mui Wo, transparency in district council proceedings, East Lantau Metropolis and future development of Lantau.

Table Summarising Candidate Responses.

Most candidates responded, including two from Discovery Bay. All of the original responses (English or Chinese) are on the LIM website (www.livingislands.org.hk) with links in the below table.

Code Name of Constituency Area Candidate
Number
Name
of Candidate
Response
from Candidate
T01 LANTAU 1  YU HON KWAN (RANDY)  Written (Chi)
2  LAU KING CHEUNG  Written (Chi)
3  YUEN YUK WAH  Verbal
4  TAM SAU NGOR  Written (Eng)
T06 DISCOVERY
BAY
1  CHIU TAK WAI (FRANCIS)  Written (Eng)
2  YUNG WING SHEUNG AMY (AMY YUNG)  Written (Eng)
3  HU ZILIANG (JIMMY)  No Contact

The below table summarises their responses.

We hope that this might help all of us to decide who to vote for to best represent the interests of all of us.  We hope that you will use your vote in this election!

Here are some links the Government Election information:
– Polling Stations – http://www.elections.gov.hk/dc2015/eng/poll_T.html 
– How to vote – http://www.elections.gov.hk/dc2015/eng/ebriefs.html

Regards
The LIM Committee

Press Release – IWMAG Submission

i Dec 19th No Comments by

Press Release regarding the proposed rezoning of sites to assist solve Hong Kong’s Waste Management problem

Living Islands Movement (LIM) supports a new approach to solving Hong Kong’s waste management problem. Compared to the approach being taken by the Environmental Protection Department, LIM supports the Integrated Waste Management Action Group (IWMAG) initiative, which

  • aims for a dramatic increase in the amount of recovery and recycling of waste material, and a radical reduction in the amount of waste going to landfill
  • will involve the whole community in Hong Kong,
  • will be environmentally sensitive,
  • can be implemented in a relatively short timescale,
  • is economically viable,
  • can include up-to-date technology options,
  • and distributes the responsibility for waste management regionally within the SAR.

Waste Management is a problem for the entire Hong Kong community. LIM briefing meetings in December have highlighted the flaws in the Government selection of Shek Kwu Chau for constructing an artificial island on which to build a giant incinerator. The Government’s short sighted vision is to localise the problem by building a single giant incinerator to which all of the unsorted waste material in Hong Kong will be transported. This is a management style from the nineteenth century, and Hong Kong deserves better than this.

The IWMAG rezoning proposal can provide space quickly and cost effectively for constructing sorting facilities at or near existing landfill sites, with little or no damage to the existing flora or fauna in those areas. The Government proposal will irreversibly destroy an area of outstanding natural beauty in Hong Kong. LIM asks why the Government have allowed a proposal that will knowingly damage the environment beyond repair.

85% of Hong Kong’s waste comprises recoverable or recyclable materials. LIM is concerned that if the Government builds a super incinerator with a token waste-sorting facility (with planned capacity for sorting just 300 tonnes per day out of the 3,000 tonnes per day that the incineration plant is projected to handle) there will be no incentive to follow through with expanding any waste sorting facilities. It just becomes easier to burn everything rather than sort and separate anything.

The Government proposal to construct a huge-scale moving grate incinerator will create toxic emissions that will be dispersed across a wide area of Hong Kong. By expanding the recovery and recycling of waste, the need for incinerations is largely removed. Other technologies may be useful to further reduce the residual waste to a negligible issue.

LIM advocates a regional approach to alleviating the waste management problem. Existing locations should be developed to use existing infrastructure and minimise the transportation of waste over long distances.

 

Press Release: 19 Dec 2013 – for immediate publication

 

Editors.

For more information, please contact:

 Michael Pratt, Vice Chairman Living Islands Movement. Mobile 9092 8481

Road Safety on South Lantau

i Jun 16th 1 Comment by

Living Islands Movement (LIM) registers with regret and deep concern the increasing incidence of road traffic accidents on the South Lantau Road (SLR) involving loss of life. In particular, we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Gavin Spier, tragically killed on the SLR on Saturday  1st June 2013. We were also horrified and saddened by the incident in which 8 cattle were killed a few days later.

We believe these and other accidents highlight the urgent need to improve road safety on South Lantau. That issue should be the sole focus of government action. Removing cattle from South Lantau, as suggested by some, is not a solution to this problem. In fact it would be a backward step sending a wrong signal that any perceived obstacles to speeding traffic will be removed, thus increasing the risks to all road users.

We want to see dangerous driving eradicated from South Lantau, not the cattle. The majority of residents and especially visitors want to continue to enjoy the presence of cattle and buffaloes here.

In addition to the rising number  of reported accidents, LIM is very aware that many local residents and visitors now feel insecure when using the SLR and the streets of Mui Wo, whether as motorists, cyclists, hikers or pedestrians. Speeding, aggressive driving, dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, undisciplined cycling (including use of illegal electric cycles), widespread parking on pavements and illegal driving on EVA roads are among the principal concerns.

This heightened sense of insecurity is due to the significantly increased volumes of traffic in recent years, arising from the large number of new construction projects; higher numbers of tourists visiting South Lantau in various categories; higher demand for bus services especially at weekends; and, most of all, the apparent  growth in the number of Lantau Closed Road Permits being issued to new residents, who continue to arrive at a brisk pace.

There is also reportedly a rising incidence of vehicles illegally entering the South Lantau area without a Lantau Closed Road Permit, via the New Tung Chung Road.

Moreover, the environment of “parking anarchy” that now prevails in Mui Wo  particularly leads to a general sense that laws can be ignored and consideration for other road users can be abandoned. This particular phenomenon is due to the totally inadequate number of parking places in the area when compared with the much larger number of Lantau Closed Road Permits now in circulation.

South Lantau is a uniquely rural community, treasured for its recreation and natural lifestyle opportunities, but one which is facing increasing development pressure, bringing consequential traffic and road safety issues that threaten our tranquil lifestyle.

LIM firmly believes that a review of road safety, traffic regulations and policing on South Lantau is long overdue, taking into account the increased road usage and the needs of ALL road users, whether commercial, residential or recreational; vehicular, cyclist or pedestrian.

The South Lantau Road should be quite adequate for current volumes of traffic if appropriately regulated, taking into account these special conditions.

Based on the long experience of many LIM members of road usage in South Lantau, we propose implementation of the following measures, which would go a long way towards rectifying the current unsafe situation:

 Highways/Transport Department to upgrade regulations and enhance improve road signage:

  • Speed limit of 50 km to apply to the whole SLR
  • Speed limits of 30 km through ALL villages
  • Installation of roadside electronic speedometers advising drivers of their actual speed (as seen in UK)
  • No overtaking (double white lines) on whole length of SLR except at designated passing places
  • Traffic calming and/or speed bumps at entrance and exit and middle of all villages on the SLR (as seen in rural areas in Europe)
  • Signage such as “Tong Fuk welcomes careful drivers” for each village
  • More signage warning of blind exits/entrances on bends of the SLR, and near schools and beaches where children may be present
  • Relocation of bus stops away from blind spots on the road or streets (e.g. Mui Wo)
  • Removal of restrictive railings which discourage pedestrian use of the pavements

Additional resources for Police on South Lantau:

OVERT policing:

  • Dedicated Traffic Unit for Lantau (South)
  • More speed camera sites in the effective places with permanent installation and 24/7 monitoring
  • Alcohol breath-tests carried out – particularly late at night
  • Regular patrols in early morning to discourage people “racing” to catch ferries

COVERT policing:

  • Unmarked police car patrols,
  • CCTV in black spots,
  • more frequent hidden speed checks by speed-gun
  • Police with cameras to monitor e.g. drivers using mobile phones

Other Transport Issues:

  • Install license plate recognition technology at entrance to the New Tung Chung Road at Shek Mun Kap to monitor  vehicles entering South Lantau 24/7 for appropriate Closed Road Permits
  • Tightening the scrutiny of Lantau Closed Road Permit applications, and increasing education measures of new permit holders as to the special characteristics of driving on SLR
  • Tachograph equipment to be installed in all buses and commercial vehicles using SLR. Practice of “gunning” (i.e. over-revving) bus engines to be eliminated through better training of drivers.
  • Strategic review of parking arrangements on South Lantau, especially in Mui Wo, in conjunction with the Mui Wo Face Lift Scheme

CONCLUSION: LIM WELCOMES THE COMMITMENT OF GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS TO IMPROVE ROAD SAFETY AND ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF LIFE ON SOUTH LANTAU. WE LOOK FORWARD TO PARTICIPATING IN FURTHER MEETINGS TO EXAMINE AND IMPLEMENT THESE PROPOSALS IN DETAIL .

Living Islands Movement

15th June 2013

ENDORSED BY:

  • Green Lantau Association
  • ECO-Environment Conservation and Education Association
  • Association for Tai O Environment and Development
  • South Lantau Education Concern Group
  • Lantau Buffalo Association
  • Protection of Animals Lantau South (PALS)
  • The Naked Islands Project – HK
  • Lantau International School 

 

 

Position Paper: Super-Incinerator

i Jul 14th No Comments by

Do we want a waste Incinerator in the Islands?

The Government has published plans to build a super-incinerator as the centerpiece of their so-called “integrated” waste management strategy.

Based on a questionable Environmental Impact Assessment study, they have chosen a site adjoining Shek Kwu Chau island, which lies between Chi Ma Wan and Cheung Chau off South Lantau, in preference to an already degraded site next to an existing power station at Tsang Tsui Ash Lagoons.

LIM urges the Government to scrap this plan and introduce a genuinely integrated waste reduction, recycling and management strategy instead.

The Government’s reasoning

The government claims the Shek Kwu Chau site is to be preferred because:

  1. Shek Kwu Chau is far away from any population clusters.
  2. Visual impact will be “acceptable” to the low population of the island.
  3. Cheung Chau is not in the direction of the prevailing wind.
  4. Shek Kwu Chau’s location offers a more environmental and cost-effective transport of waste.

The Real Issues

However, a closer examination of the facts reveals:

  1. The Tsang Tsui Ash Lagoons site is in fact farther away from the next population cluster, Tuen Mun, with two large mountains in between.
  2. The government has not conducted any feasibility studies nor does it have any financial estimates to justify its cost-effectiveness claim.
  3. To build the super-incinerator on Shek Kwu Chau will take two years longer. Given the claimed urgency of the matter (the landfills will apparently be full before then) it makes no sense to prefer this location.
  4. The visual impact assessment is flawed. It ignores the views from Cheung Chau and South Lantau’s beaches and does not consider the view for visitors and travelers; nor does it consider the relative impact on the existing visual appeal of the two sites.

So why choose such an inappropriate site? Perhaps it is believed we would be a softer target than the well-represented urban population of Tuen Mun?

How you can help prove them wrong?

If you care about our environment and want to show your support for the LIM position on the super-incinerator, please contact us for the full details of the next steps proposed by LIM.  E-mail info@livingislands.org.hk

Living Islands Movement
Sustainable Island Development
July 2011

 

 

Also see:

LIM’s Letter of Objection to the Super-Incinerator Draft Outline Zoning Plan (June 2011)

 

Documentation: Super-Incinerator

i Mar 27th No Comments by
ITEM
VIEW DOCUMENT SOURCE
LIM’s Letter of Objection to the Draft Outline
Zoning Plan
(June 2011)
LIM Executive Committee

Draft Outline Zoning Plan (Notes)
Town Planning Board
HK Govt
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
(Spring 2011). Prepared by Aecom
Environmental Protection Department
(EPD) HK Govt.

Position Paper: Ferry Services

i Oct 14th No Comments by

Towards the provision of appropriate and sustainable ferry services for the Hong Kong outlying islands.

Published: October 2009. Pages: 29.

Contents:

Executive Summary.
1. Introduction.
2. History, facts and factors.
3. Questions relating to a future service:
3,1 Changes of passenger needs;
3.2 Freight and slow ferries;
3.3 Visitors;
3.4 Comfort;
3.5 Ownership and operators;
3.6 Fares;
4. Planning the future services.
5. The starting point to designing a service: “Needs”.
Appendices I to XII

[box]Click below to read: Also available as a Google doc to read / download here. [/box]

 

 

 

 

 

Letter: Super-Prison

i Jul 25th No Comments by

Proposal to site a Superprison on Hei Ling Chau Island.

  • Unnecessarily and irreversibly despoil a scenic area, and create a huge blot on the landscape
  • The bridge would also be visually quite unacceptable, and the prison would bring extra traffic to the South Lantau Road.
  • Hei Ling Chau is the wrong place to build it — necessitates 1.5 billion further taxpayer dollars for a bridge and huge future operating costs
  • The project is ill-conceived and based on suspect figures.  The Correctional Services Department admits that from an operational viewpoint, it is the worst option
  • Security Branch admits prison overcrowding is caused by short-termers and mainland overstayers
  • We must not spend 12 billion  taxpayer dollars, and despoil for future generations a scenic area to house such people

We need a solution that is quicker, cheaper and more flexible.  This project should be cancelled so we can all have a re-think about this expensive, catastrophic and irreversible blunder.

The case for  a Superprison is very weak

 

Vastly expensive ($12 billion – the bridge to the prison will be longer than the Macau-Taipa bridge and cost $1.5billion)

Based on highly dubious figures and projections.  Security Branch admits 30% of prisoners are just mainland prostitutes and overstayers.  Recent Government overall population projections have been downgraded, so we probably do not need more prison space anyway (an article in the South China Morning Post on July 7, 2004 says even these new figures are still considerably overstated).

“Acute prison overcrowding” is claimed — so why proceed with something which will take 10 years to build? We need more flexible solutions — inexpensively refurbishing and extending existing prisons –bringing work to local contractors unlike the specialized engineering for the Superprison and bridge

–       Present prisons are claimed to be “archaic” – strange, since one was built as late as 1999.

–       Hei Ling Chau is operationally highly disadvantageous (Security Branch admits this) – remote, necessitating lengthy journeys for staff and suppliers, accessible via a single bridge, giving insufficient escape from disaster or prison riot  (unacceptable from a risk management point of view.)

–       Government’s attempted justification: transferring all Hong Kong’s prisons together will give an ‘economy of scale’ of $125M/yr on staff savings: a ridiculous 0.8% of the capital cost.  This  “economy of scale” may be true for Security Branch but it ignores the cost of the effects on citizens of Hong Kong and its economics:

–       the extra costs they will incur from transport of prisoners, staff,  and supplies in a place so far away by road and ferry

–       the increased cost and inconvenience for prisoners’ visitors;

–       two thirds of the capacity of the new prison (ie $8 Billion) merely replicates existing facilities which are then abandoned

 

Objections

 

–       “Superprisons build supercriminals” Superprisons elsewhere are meeting strong opposition from penologists and psychologists- also they are susceptible to terrorist attacks and epidemics (notably SARS and, increasingly in the USA, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus);

 

–       In HK, there is strong objection from the public, from green groups, from prison visitors and senior members of the judiciary.  (Hardly anyone supports the proposal outside of a small part of government, the engineers and the construction industry.)

 

 

This project has not been looked at in the overall context of Hong Kong and its environment.

 

The case for it is very weak, and certainly not strong enough to justify spending $12 billion which would

 

–       Be a  visual eyesore – massive bridge and a floodlit “gulag”

–       Destroy South Lantau as a place to live and place to visit.

–       Destroy for ever an area of natural beauty.

–       Destroy one of the few remaining rural areas available to Hong Kong citizens and arrest its sustainable development for recreation and tourism.

–       Destroy pristine seascape around the islands;

–       Destroy the rural calm for miles around – visible from Mui Wo, Discovery Bay, Disney, Peng Chau, Lamma, Cheung Chau, Chi Ma Wan, Nam Shan, and from much of Hong Kong, including Cyberport and the Peak.  Right beside jetfoil routes to Macau.   This seascape earmarked for ‘conservation’ by Planning Department (see the SW NT development strategy 2001, and 2030 plan)

 

There would be the following highly negative and irreversible environmental effects:

 

Traffic

–       Big increase in traffic along S. Lantau road  (which is prone to landslips – has been blocked for 3 months at a time).

–       Traffic noise and heavy slow vehicles on narrow roads

–       Longer travel time to Tung Chung & airport

–       10 years of noise and dust

 

Visual / Noise

–       Light pollution – total loss of “night-sky” from floodlights and bridge lighting

– 24 hr. Noise from the prison, machinery, road, sea traffic for 10 years during construction

 

Water

–       Water pollution caused by waste  (during construction and on-going)

–       Disruption of the rich natural marine species.

 

All the above are major and irreversible, and no amount of  “pretty pictures” and “Environmental Impact Aassessment” Reports can disguise this

 

Failure to “assign value”

 

This is vital aspect of the “value equation”.  The Hei Ling Chau location and its surroundings have not been given a value either in terms of sustaining its present “’existence value” nor in terms of future value to future generations as a vital “green lung” for  “Asia’s World City”

 

There is a powerful property lobby that has its eyes on the urban land that would be released by closing existing prison sites.  Thus we are expected to exchange our natural heritage for lucrative urban properties.

 

The loss, to the people of Hong Kong, through despoiling an area of natural beauty that government itself recommended be scheduled for conservation, leisure and tourism;  this also results in an economic loss from the growing demand for eco-tourism – a sector that offers the possibility of increasing our annual tourism earnings by up to HK$25Bn if properly developed.